Peep Game: Grand Theft Auto Special

For those who just haven’t been around, well… anywhere… Grand Theft Auto IV will be released

April 29 to much fanfare all over the country.

Slowed work production and fast food consumption are likely

to follow.

In honor of that, AllHipHop Gaming and The Gamer Studio

would like to present a look back at the GTA

III Trilogy, and what made this series from the somewhat obscure sandbox

title to worldwide phenomenon.

Grand Theft Auto III

Lets not be coy. The Grand

Theft Auto series did not have mass appeal. Although they were somewhat

critically appraised, gamers did not flock to them. They needed a new spark for

the third iteration.

Betrayal, a prison bus breakout, and of course, grand theft

auto… and this is within the first five minutes. Enter Claude Speed, and exit

the relative obscurity for this franchise. The high that gamers felt within

those first five minutes seemed to sustain itself throughout the whole game.

It felt like you could try any vice you wanted to exploit. A

variety of guns and cars kept you busy killing gangsters and citizens alike. The

boldest even killed cops on the way to killing gangsters. Get a hooker, and

kill her to get your money back after the “happy ending.” Steal a car and joy ride

through the sprawling metropolis that is Liberty City.

You had to be tough to survive there anyway. Liberty City

was a place that bit back hard. It had its share of killers, wheelers and

dealers, whose only connection is the fact that they were sociopaths that you

hated to love and loved to hate.

The next few games in the series may have added more

gameplay elements and maybe more fun and polished, but this is the incarnation

that started the phenomenon.

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

Remember the ‘80s? The time we wore

the ugliest clothes, listened to the worst music, fell for the worst trends.

Sure there was Michael Jackson before he went insane, Married With Children and KRS. But for the most part, it's embarrassing. Who would've thought the redemption of a full decade would come over 20 years later?

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City had

a lot to live up to. After GTA3,

delivering so much, shaping a genre, and wowing gamers worldwide, how could

Rockstar improve on that? Doubts were silenced, as Vice City didn’t just become a good game in a genre, it refined it.

The Scarface vibe certainly made its presence felt as you were driving in a drop top below the Vice City [read : Miami] sun, while choppers were following you, as you proceed to gunning down a rival drug dealer before you get back to your Mansion. There was no more silent Claude, but the cynical Tommy Vercetti, who'd give Tony Montana a run for his money.

The game was simply bigger, better and more GTA then GTA3 ever was….and almost enough to redeemed the ‘80s completely. Nostalgia, fun, progression, Vice City had it all, and the world was ours.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

“Now let me welcome everybody to the wild, wild West

A state that's untouchable like Eliot Ness”

Dr. Dre

Dre may have been talking about California, but the same

could be said for San Andreas. Expectations were high after the critical success of Vice City. Maybe questioned just how far the game could be taken on the PS2, considering it was getting towards the end of its lifecycle. However, the final game of the Trilogy happened to not just end it meeting expectations, but pushing the bar even higher for GTA 4.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was a combination of West Coast rap albums and urban movies combined, while maintaining the series feel and appeal. The major change is the sheer amount of ground that you can cover. San Andreas allowed you to roam across an entire state filled with three cities and country landscape with a West Coast vibe.

Sure, the East Cost has gangs, but nothing really like the

Black, Hispanic, and Asian gangs of Los Angeles, San Francisco - or the Mafia

lifestyle in Vegas, which this game does a pretty good job emulating.

There were the gameplay additions of tagging, sky jumping

and the ability to exercise to increase your running and fighting ability. Rockstar had a more realistic focus on gameplay with the addition of having to eat to keep your energy up and taking various classes to get better with guns, cars

instead of just wheeling and dealing as you did previously.

It is by far the most polished game of the series, and even

with the infamous controversy with the Hot Coffee Mod and the zero flying

missions, this one stands heads and shoulders above the rest.

As everyone prepares to go to the store and pick up their Grand Theft Auto IV and shun the rest of their social and maybe even fiscal

responsibilities, remember that this has been a good series for a while. Don’t

be afraid to go back and get reacquainted.Click here to read's Screen Shot preview of Grand Theft Auto IVFor more updates from The Gamer Studio team, go to